Keywords: energy, household, lifestyles, material flux analysis, modelling, technological change
Household energy consumption in Switzerland
Households consume more energy embodied in goods and services than they consume with energy carriers. Thus, energy assessments need to address both direct consumption and indirect consumption via commodities. This paper first presents a conceptual framework for describing and analysing the direct and indirect energy use of households. The framework is based on material flux analysis and differentiates between four household activities feeding, housing, transporting and consuming. Secondly, Swiss data on household energy consumption are presented and discussed in the context of household size, technology and consumption behaviour. It is shown that these factors considerably shape per capita energy demand. The third part presents energy projections based on trend assumptions for demographic and technological developments for the next 30 years. When zero growth per capita in commodities consumption is assumed, overall energy demand will increase by about 5%, mainly due to strong increases in gasoline demand. When the growth rate of commodities consumption exceeds 0.3% per year, embodied energy demand will offset efficiency gains achieved by technological improvements in the economic and domestic sectors and will fuel overall energy growth.